Vancouver Canucks preview: Ringing in the new year vs. Ducks

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 9: Andrew Cogliano
ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 9: Andrew Cogliano /

One of the Vancouver Canucks New Year’s Resolutions should be a win over the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Here is our game preview, with projected lineups, predictions and more.

The month of December was a rough one for the Vancouver Canucks, as they went from playoff contender to the bottom of the Western Conference. They went 4-8-1, and are bound to miss the postseason for the fourth time in five years.

But this was expected the whole time. The Canucks were playing better than expected, before the injuries to key players began to pile up. They’ve still done a fine job playing spoiler, defeating top teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks. Now, they would love to beat an injury-ravaged Anaheim Ducks team that owns former Canuck and ultra villain, Ryan Kesler.

Can the Canucks pull off the upset and kick off 2018 with a bang? Here’s our game preview for game number 40.

0. 105. 0. 104. Final

Vancouver Canucks


2017-18 record: 16-18-5

Goals for: 106

Goals against: 127

2016-17 record vs. Ducks: 2-3-0

Injuries via RotoWorld:  Brandon Sutter (upper body, day-to day), Bo Horvat (ankle, out six-to-eight weeks), Chris Tanev (groin, out two-three weeks), Sven Baertschi (broken jaw, out four-to-six weeks).

Who’s on offence

As usual, the Canucks offence lives and dies by Brock Boeser, who has been this team’s best rookie since Pavel Bure in 1991-92. With 21 goals on the season, Boeser has already surpassed Horvat’s 20 that led the team last season. In short, the kid is alright.

More from The Canuck Way

With Horvat and Baertschi sidelined, Thomas Vanek has upped his game. He’s up to 12 goals on the season, and is just five days removed from a five-point effort against the Chicago Blackhawks. All eyes will be on the 33-year-old leading up to the trade deadline. And who knows? Maybe the Canucks trade yet another player to Anaheim in February.

Who’s on defence

Good question, because the Canucks defence has been tough to spot without Tanev. But keep an eye on Erik Gudbranson, who has a chance to reset his value before the trade deadline.

The pending UFA is likely playing his final games in a Canucks uniform. A strong January could enhance his value in both the trade market and on July 1st, when he becomes a free agent.

Who’s in net

Jacob Markstrom has gotten most of the workload, but struggled throughout all of December. It’s logical for head coach Travis Green to hand the starting role over to Anders Nilsson, who’s also looking to bounce back from a rough month and has had more than enough time off.

Projected lineup

Thomas Vanek—Sam Gagner—Brock Boeser

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Loui Eriksson

Nikolay Goldobin—Markus Granlund—Jake Virtanen

Brendan Gaunce—Nic Dowd—Reid Boucher

Alexander Edler—Troy Stecher

Michael Del Zotto—Derrick PouliotE

Ben Hutton—Erik Gudbranson

*lineups courtesy of the daily faceoff

Anaheim Ducks


2017-18 record: 18-14-8

Goals for: 109

Goals against: 115

2016-17 record vs. Canucks: 3-1-1

Injuries via RotoWorld: Corey Perry (lower body, week-to-week), Mike Liambas (undisclosed, day-to-day), Patrick Eaves (lower body, undisclosed).

Who’s on offence

Rickard Rakell continues to build off of a breakout season, leading the Ducks in scoring with 14 goals and 29 points thus far. The 24-year-old has carried the offence with key forwards missing ample time due to injuries.

The Ducks have gotten hot since Ryan Getzlaf returned from injury, too. The big centre always seems to play his best against the Canucks, as their undersized defencemen have struggled to contain the Olympic gold medalist.

And doesn’t some guy named Ryan Kesler play for the Ducks or something? Anyone in Vancouver ever hear of him?

Who’s on defence

Brandon Montour is having an excellent sophomore year, and leads all Ducks’ blueliners with 19 points. The Ducks lost Cam Fowler for several weeks, and Sami Vatanen was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Adam Henrique. But Montour as matured and blossomed as a top-four blueliner, anchoring a depleted Ducks’ defence.

Who’s in net

Look for John Gibson to get the start again. The 24-year-old is on pace to easily surpass his career best of 25 wins, set last season. Gibson has an incredible .922 save percentage, and has kept the Ducks in the playoff race despite all the injuries they’ve suffered already.

Projected Lineup

Rickard Rakell—Ryan Getzlaf—Ondrej Kase

Kevin Roy—Adam Henrique—Jakob Silverberg

Andrew Cogliano—Ryan Kesler—Chris Wagner

Nick Ritchie—Antoine Vermette—Logan Shaw

Hampus Lindholm—Josh Manson

Cam Fowler—Kevin Bieksa

Francois Beauchemin—Brandon Montour

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff


Alex Hoegler

Final. 4. 105. 1. 104

The Ducks have absolutely owned the Canucks since they became Pacific Division rivals in 2013-14. Both teams are banged up, but the Ducks have much better forward and defensive depth. They’ll cruise to another win over Vancouver here.

Andrew Nazareth

105. 2. 104. Final. 1

Goldy gets another, and Anders Nilsson gets the start. Hutton will sit to make room for Tanev.

Tyler Shipley

1. 105. 4. 104. Final

Reid Boucher finally gets an opportunity and makes the most of it, surprising Miller with a quick but heavy wrist shot, the winning goal in a decisive victory.

Scott Rosenhek

104. Final. 2. 105. 3

Next: Vancouver Canucks 2018 roundtable: Gudbranson, trades

Ducks do have Kesler back and their goaltending is better. But if Nic Dowd can score a goal, then anything can happen. Kesler gets a goal as the villain of the night and I can see a Boeser hat trick coming our way. Nilsson doesn’t play his best game, but good enough to scrape by.